When the client decided to transition from being a tenant in a multi-tenant building to their first headquarters building, they envisioned a space that fostered their culture and principals. Additionally, in a highly competitive talent market, it was essential for the client to retain their valuable existing staff while simultaneously attracting the best new talent. Centered on the ideas of service, performance, integrity, respect, innovation and teamwork the team desired a space that not only suited their Atlanta associates but also served as a training hub for their national organization and for their vendor partners. “Take care of ourselves (be well) and each other (be family)”, is one of the client’s fundamental statements. The firm was tasked with incorporating into the space this central feeling that an associate’s overall wellness is not only beneficial to him or her personally, but also to the total health and growth of the company. The design team was challenged to build the environment around the value that associates are similar to a family unit, where each individual is equal, can be comfortable being his or her true self and is willing and happy to support others.
The client cemented their dedication to the growth and development of their associates with the facility’s name, the Leadership Development Center. The second-floor conference center is dedicated to supporting the training and development needs of the organization, including spaces varying in size from one-person quiet rooms up to a 400-occupant telepresence room. Given the wide variety of work styles among their associates, it was important that the workstations adapt easily to their changing needs. The typical workstation solution is made up of a standard kit of parts that can easily be reconfigured for different uses. To support the wellbeing of the client’s associates and aid in attraction and retention, the LDC amenity spaces include a full-service café which highlights healthful choices, as well as brick pizza oven, coffee/smoothie bar, large dining room with recreation area, outdoor patio overlooking the Chattahoochee River forest, fitness center with full locker rooms and healthy living classroom, wellness rooms and a variety of open and closed collaboration spaces. Stairwell doors are left open with softer finishes and branding to encourage usage. A truth to materials exemplifies how individuals should be treated with mutual respect and celebrated for the part they play within a family work unit. Materials were left as they would occur naturally to celebrate their strengths, and connections between them were not only left exposed but were showcased, mirroring the organization’s unique associates. The materiality is also incorporated to pay homage to one of the client’s core business units as an industrial distributor.